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Thirty Seven Ways to Serve Your Missionaries Better

Most churches love their missionaries but few know how to serve them well. After our time in the States last year visiting all our supporting churches I thought it would be good to put together a list of ways churches can serve their missionaries.

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Below you’ll find both suggestions about how to serve your missionaries when they are home on furlough and when they are on the field. Some of these ideas I got from churches who already do them, some of them I got from other missionaries and some of them are just my own.

Please note our supporting churches serve us very well and we are so grateful for them, this is not a list of complaints and I’m not hinting at anything. The main purpose of this list is to provide churches with helpful ideas on how they can serve their missionaries better.

37 Ways to Serve Your Missionaries

  1. Connect with your missionary on Skype if possible.
  2. Respond to your missionaries e-mails with encouraging words.
  3. Gift cards are better than missionary closets.
  4. Make sure they have the Wifi password!
  5. Give them options for lodging (some may prefer to stay with a family and some may prefer to stay in a hotel.)
  6. When the missionary is at your church give them time to rest.
  7. If you have technical resources for website design/building, offer it to your missionary.
  8. If you have a videographer in your church, offer to help your missionary make a video.
  9. Ask about their personal needs.
  10. Look for ways to minister to their children.
  11. Give a gift card for a night or two away.
  12. If you have a mechanic in your church, offer to change the oil in their car or other maintenance.
  13. Communicate with them well ahead of time about what you would like them to do on Sunday morning.
  14. Don’t be a one way street, communicate with your missionaries about what’s going on at your church regularly.
  15. Assign one person per missionary that your church supports. Let that person communicate with the missionary and be the missionary’s voice.
  16. Think of other ways to include your missionaries in church life outside of Sunday morning.
  17. Do a no-host lunch or dinner at a local restaurant and allow your missionary to share in more detail about his ministry and answer questions.
  18. Offer to print prayer cards or newsletters.
  19. Ask them what foods they miss and send a small care package.
  20. Give your missionaries the option of eating light when they’re at your church.
  21. Update your missionary’s prayer card on the church bulletin board and website often.
  22. Make sure your church members know who the missionaries are before they arrive.
  23. Read your missionaries prayer letters (or parts of it) on Sunday morning when possible.
  24. Give your missionaries some time to acclimate once they get back to the States.
  25. Ask your missionary about their vehicle needs before they come home on furlough.
  26. Ask your missionary about their support needs even when they’re not on furlough.
  27. Provide your church members with pre-addressed  cards to send to your missionaries.
  28. Allow your missionary to attend a service where he’s not the main attraction.
  29. Offer to send your missionary to a conference/seminar that will minister to him and/or his family.
  30. Understand that your missionary’s time is limited, give him the option to say “no” to some things.
  31. Remember that your missionary’s family might be going through reverse culture shock.
  32. Write out a prayer and send it to your missionary.
  33. Offer to help your missionary with mailings.
  34. Find out what things can be sent through the mail to your missionary that might be helpful in ministry.
  35. Ask your missionary about special ministry needs that might need to be financed.
  36. If you send a team to your missionary, make sure it is planned well in advanced and that you communicate clearly.
  37. If you haven’t heard from your missionary in a month or two, check with them. Maybe you accidentally got off their list.

Question: What suggestions can you add to this list? Please leave your suggestions in the comments as a resource for others.

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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children!

My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • pastorstevemn

    Thanks Caleb for your great communication. More than any other missionary I have known, you communicate regularly, clearly and appreciatively. This list is wonderfully helpful as is the challenge to keep the assistance flowing and the lines of communication open. Glad to get to be a small part of your support team.

    • I’m so glad you found the list helpful! Thanks for the encouraging words too. We are so thankful for your support!

  • I think #10 is a real huge one. We often forget how powerful that can be for the children and for the missionary. I also like the idea of rest. I’ve seen missionaries come in for a little while, and it seems like their time is ultra-scheduled with all sorts of visits to supporters and churches. I had never really considered their desire to just relax for a while.

    • Yes, sometimes those MK’s can be overlooked but they play an important role in the family and the ministry.

      I have heard it said on a few occasions, “So you came home for a vacation?” No, furlough is not a vacation! In fact it can be more tiring sometimes than being on the field!

  • Great list. There’s so much more we can do to support missionaries than give money and even pray.
    Thank you!

    • Well, don’t underestimate prayer either TC, but yes, there’s much that can be done.

  • Great ways to serve those in missionary work. I beleive giving fincalially is one the best ways to serve if you are not able to go yourself. Since money is always needed.

  • Many of these are really simple, not overwhelming to implement. #2 is something I’m trying (with some success) to do faithfully, and #15 is a great idea that I’d like to bring to our church. I’ve shared a link to this post with the followers of Edify Hub to see who else can find some great ideas here.

    Thanks so much for sharing these and giving a look into what’s really helpful for missionaries.

    • Steve, I know a couple of our supporting churches are doing #15 and I like the idea on several levels. One is makes it more likely that the church will communicate with their missionaries. Two it takes the responsibility off the pastor’s plate. Three it helps the members connect better with the missionaries.

  • d gasawa

    Good ideas. Another might be gift cards to clothing stores if they are coming from a different climate.

    • Yes, that’s so true, sometimes the missionary’s wardrobe is from a different climate and he’s not ready for the cold or hot weather.